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The word Jihad is commonly translated into English as the “Holy War” and for a long while now the word has been interpreted so that it has become synonymous with a ‘mania of religion’. The word Jihad conjures up the vision of a marching band of religious fanatics with savage beards and fiery eyes brandishing drawn swords and attacking the infidels wherever they meet them and pressing them to recite Kalimah under the edge of the sword. The artists have drawn this picture in a masterly style and have inscribed under it in bold letters:
“A nation whose history is nothing but a tale of bloodshed’.
However the word Jihad is an Arabic term which literally means “To strive or to struggle”. The irony is that the artists are no other but those of our self-styled benefactors who themselves have been engaged in an extremely unholy war for centuries. They themselves look robbers and dacoits on the world stage, armed to the teeth with all kinds of deadly weapons, pillaging the countries and enslaving nations to capture new markets of trade, seize resources of raw material, open lands for colonisation and mines yielding valuable metals to provide fuel for their ever burning fir of avarice. They fight not for the cause of Allah but for the satisfaction of their lust and hunger. For them, it is quite fair an excuse for invading a nation that its territory contains mines or its lands yield bumper crops or oil has been there or they can prove prospective for their products or their surplus population can be settled on the lands belonging to these weak people. If any country is unfortunately situated on the way to a country already occupied by these colonialists or is in their plan to be occupied, it’s quite enough an excuse for them to capture it. Whatever we Muslims did is now a part of history, past and gone, but their deeds are the current happenings witnessed all over the world day and night. Asia, Africa, Europe and America in no portion of earth has been spared by these colonialists. It’s no doubt their superb art that they have painted our picture so gory and dark that it has virtually overshadowed and concealed their own ugly picture. No doubt we Muslims did defend ourselves in the face of aggression but now we have renounced that defensive war too. Now the term Jihad only refers to word-war through spoken or written word. It’s now exclusively your domain to fight with arms while we’re contented with our pen and tongue.
Causes Of Misunderstanding Jihad
When we analyse the causes why the real nature of the Jihad in the way of Allah has become so difficult to understand not only for non-Muslims but for the Muslims too, we discover two major and basic misconceptions. The first misunderstanding is that Islam is taken as a religion in the conventional sense of the term “religion”. The second misconception is that Muslims are taken as a nation in the technical sense of this term. These two misunderstandings have not only mixed up the concept of Jihad but have entirely changed the picture of Islam as a whole and have completely misrepresented the position of Muslims. Religion as a common term means nothing more than a hotch potch of some beliefs, prayers and rituals. If this is what “religion’ means, then it should be a private affair. You should be free to entertain any belief and worship any deity whom your conscience is inclined to accept. If you’re zealous and ardent devotee of such a religion, you may go and preach it to the whole world and engage yourselves therein. There is no justification to take up arms in this process. Can you convert people to your faith by using sheer force? This apprehension is quite natural if you regard Islam as a religion in the conventional meaning of the term and if Islam is taken as a conventional type of religion, the institution of jihad cannot be justified. Similarly the term ‘Nation’ connotes nothing more than a homogeneous group of people who have associated themselves as a distinct entity on the basis of some fundamental matters being common between them. A people who’re a nation in this sense take up arms only in two cases, either they are attacked with the intention of usurping their lawful rights or they attack others to usurp their legitimate rights. There may be some moral justification for taking arms in the first case but attacking others just to snatch away their lawful rights cannot be justified by anybody except a few dictators like the statesmen of England and France. What Jihad Really Is? If Islam is a religion and the Muslims are a nation in its conventional sense, Jihad looses all its meanings and importance because of which it has been declared as the best form of submission to the will of Allah. In fact Islam is neither a religion nor the Muslims are a nation in the conventional sense of these terms. Islam instead is a revolutionary concept and ideology which seeks to change and revolutionalise the world social order and reshape it according to its own concept and ideals. In the same sense Muslims are in fact an international revolutionary party organised under the ideology of Islam to implement its revolutionary programme. Jihad is the term denoting the revolutionary struggle to the utmost of the Islamic revolutionary party to brong about Islamic revolution. Islam like other revolutionary ideologies has its own terminology to make its revolutionary concept clear and distinct against all other concepts and ideals. Jihad is also one of its distinct terms. Islam internationally shunned all the relevant terms denoting war in Arabic like “Harb” and used the term Jihad synonymous with struggle and strive rather than more forceful and comprehensive than the word struggle. The term Jihad can be explained as exerting one’s utmost endeavour in promoting a cause. One may ask what is the need of a new term in the face of so many synonymous words? Its answer is nothing but that the term ‘war’ has always been used for the fights between various nations and countries for threir own selfish ends and material considerations. The motives behind all these battles had always been personal or collective interests devoid of any support for ideology. The concept of war in Islam is quite different and the current term of war does not convey its concept hence Islam shuns the term ‘war’. Islam does not believe in the interest of any particular nation or country and has no concern with the hegemony of this or that country. Islam is interested in the welfare of mankind as a whole and has its own concept of this welfare and methodology to implement. Any government or authority opposed to this ideology, Islam is out to eliminate it. Islam stands for domination of its own ideology and concept without caring least who supports its cause and whose authority vanquishes in this process. Islam demands not piece of land but authority all over the globe. Islam strives not for the suzerainty of a particular nation but for the introduction of its programme and system for the welfare of mankind as a whole. Islam wishes to exploit all the available forces helpful in bringing about a revolution and uses the term Jihad for this auspicious struggle.
For The Cause Of Allah: The Essential Condition
‘Jihad’ in Islam is not merely a ‘struggle’. It is instead a ‘struggle in the cause of Allah’. The cause of Allah is essential for the term of ‘Jihad’ in Islam. This expression is also a part of the exclusive terminology of Islam which has been mentioned above. ‘Fi Sabilillah’ literally means ‘in the way of Allah’. It is this mistranslation that led people onto believing that Jihad in the way of Allah means forcible conversion of people to the faith of Islam. But in the terminology of Islam this expression carries much wider sense. All that is done for the collective well-being of mankind without any material consideration and solely to win the favour of Allah is regarded as something done ‘in the way of Allah’. For example if you give something in charity for any moral or material consideration in this world, it would not be regarded as an act ‘in the way of Allah’. Instead if your intention is to win the pleasure of Allah by helping some poor, it would be deemed to be an act ‘in the way of Allah’. Hence this term ‘in the way of Allah’ exclusively applies only to such deeds as are undertaken with perfect sincerity, without any consideration of material and worldly gain for one’s own self but sincerely for the benefit of others. In fact the sole purpose of human life is nothing but to earn pleasure of the one and only authority of this universe. The condition ‘in the way of Allah’ with ‘Jihad’ is solely for this reason. It strictly implies that whenever any individual or a group comes forward to bring about a revolution in the prevailing system of life and to establish a new system based on the ideology of Islam, all the struggle and sacrifices should be clear of all selfish motives. Such a noble struggle should be completely free from the taint of all selfish motives like gaining wealth and splendour or fame or any personal glory. All sacrifices and exertions should be directed the one and only goal i.e. the establishment of a just and equitable social order for humanity as a whole as Qur’an says “That abode of the Hereafter We shall reserve for those who do not seek glory in the earth nor wish to make mischief and the ultimate good is only for those who are God-fearing’ [28:83]. Also Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was asked ‘What does fighting in the cause of Allah imply?’ He answered ‘If one fights even with the slightest desire to get just a rope to tie his camel with, forfeits his reward’. Allah accepts only such deeds as are solely aimed at winning the pleasure of Allah with no other purpose. It is the most important, the most outstanding revolutionary party to sacrifice its life and soul and all the resources at its command to fight the evil forces of the world, not to take their place but to completely eliminate the evil and to enforce the word of Allah all over the world.
The Revolutionary Call OF Islam
The revolutionary call of Islam, in a nutshell, is: ‘O people! submit totally to Allah Who has created you’ [2:21]. The revolutionary call of Islam in not addressed to the workers, landholders, peasants or industrialists, it is directed to the whole of mankind. Islam addresses man in his capacity as a human being and asks him to shun submission to all and sundry except Allah and never to think of demanding submission from fellow human beings. None except Allah could claim submission to Him.
“Come on a common ground between us that we shall worship none but Allah and that we shall not associate any partner with Him, and shall not concede to any other the supreme authority beside Allah” [3:64]